‘Love is Worth Fighting For’

Tara Mills Tara Mills is a ‘lifelong wordaholic, contemporary romance writer, pampered wife, and proud mom’.  If you like fun and flirty, saucy and sexy, exciting thrills and suspense, or simply a good chuckle, sit for a moment while you enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  I promise, she will sweep you away with her heroes and heroines, not to mention, she is a sweetheart of a lady…
 
Congratulations on your 3 releases, Tara, on ‘In Love and War’, ‘Friends and Lovers’ and ‘Accidents Make the Heart Grow Fonder’ – Each is a wonderful happily-ever-after! 
 
Thank you! It’s so nice to visit with you today.  
 
When your muse takes you into different territories from suspense to fun and flirty, does she throw you for a loop? And how do you handle your muse at those times?
 
My muse is a well-rounded chick. There’s nothing she likes more than shaking things up. Stories are like recipes to her. It’s like she’s standing over a pot, wooden spoon in hand, tasting and tinkering, reaching for this and that to get the right balance and blend in whatever we’re creating. She just never gives me the recipe in advance, so I sometimes find myself racing around, digging for things in cabinets, the fridge, and pantry when she barks out what she wants next. She’s crazy about surprises and loves to keep me on my toes. 
  
I recently read on your pages, ‘Love really is worth fighting for, but picking your battles isn’t so easy…especially when lives are at stake.’  I love the way it reads, Tara 🙂  How do you, or your muse, choose your battles, black moments? 
 
I love that line, too!  As far as choosing the battles goes, the story and the subject matter generally dictate the trials and black moments the characters will face.  I like my stories to have substance, even my ridiculous slapstick comedy, Accidents Make the Heart Grow Fonder, as entertaining as it is, still touches on some important themes.  I have to admit that I’m crazy about research. The bibliography for In Love and War is over four pages long — for a romance!  But I wanted it to ring true. Yes, there’s tenderness, humor, and steamy love scenes, but Dylan’s working in an unstable war zone. It was only natural that he should find himself in real danger. That’s a pretty tense and exciting part of the book. Friends and Lovers is another story that offsets the warm and wonderful love story with another relationship that’s gone horribly bad and how, when these two very different relationships intersect, all hell breaks loose.  Yet, even then, I managed to infuse the pages with lighter moments.  I think it’s great that so many people have absolutely loved Dylan’s golden retriever, Max, in In Love and War.  He’s the comic relief.      
 
Would you say falling in love is just as much a battle of the heart and mind when it comes to the heroes and heroes who have been hurt in the past? 
 
Absolutely. I think people guard their hearts and mask their feelings far more than they do their own bodies. It’s as if they can take the pain of a broken arm, but a broken heart? That would be excruciating.  Stories like this resonate with everyone because we’ve all been afraid of being hurt. Opening yourself up to another person is both brave and terrifying. No one enjoys feeling vulnerable.  Love is a leap, a gamble, and ultimately, a force to be reckoned with.      
 
How do you pick and choose each battle and the resolutions to creating the perfect happily-ever-after to make it special for each hero and heroine? 
 
I love to leave my couples on a high note and make the ending very personal for them.  Naturally they need to resolve, or at least come to terms with the issue(s) between them, but even I don’t see everything until I’m writing it.  Sometimes, not even then. I actually changed a great deal of, In Love and War, during edits and added some emotionally moving things at the end that really touched my heart.  It was perfectly fine as originally submitted, but I was on a roll and kept on going.  I’m so glad I did. I really love it now. 
 
Some writers choose to focus publishing with one particular source and others branch out to more than one.  I see you write for different publishers…If I may ask, as one writer to another, and for those working to break in out there, what are the benefits to writing for more than one publisher?
 
I chose to submit to several publishers because it’s never a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket. Not only did I want to compare how various publishers work and what kinds of support they offer their authors, but we’ve all heard of publishers who’ve closed their doors. I didn’t want to find all of my books affected by something like that, so I split them up.    
 
What 5 tools or marketing strategies would you suggest to focus on once breaking into the publishing industry?
 
Put up a webpage! That’s very important. So is blogging, even occasionally. Create an author presence on the web and make connections with readers and other writers. Join things, network, leave comments and write guest blogs or do interviews. All of these things will start showing up on searches of your name and titles. People will eventually find you. It just takes a little time. Patience isn’t just a virtue in writing, it’s a must. Annoying, but true. 
 
Any chance we can have a taste of the next happily-ever-after coming our way? 
 
Sure!  My next release, coming from Beachwalk Press June 17th, is called Grading on Curves. Here’s the blurb.
 
One-on-one instruction never felt so right—or so wrong.There’s nothing unusual about Mia Page’s attraction to the young science teacher at the middle school. After all, she’s not the only one who finds him enticing. But when he pulls her son aside to ask for her phone number, she knows she’s in serious trouble. Since her divorce four years earlier, she’s been out of circulation, choosing to focus on parenting instead, and she’s not entirely sure she can handle an entanglement with the sexy Mr. Walden.There are also other reasons why getting involved with Curt would be a bad idea. He’s two years shy of thirty, and she’s on the downside of that unmentionable number. He’s adamant about never having kids, and she has a son. Even the guy’s romantic gifts are suspect. Energy saving light bulbs? He has to be kidding.On the other hand, he’s fun, sweet, and smart. He stimulates her intellectually, emotionally, and Lord help her, physically, opening her eyes to life outside her comfortable world. Yet their differences quietly gnaw at Mia even while she succumbs to their undeniable chemistry.As their romance deepens, so do Mia’s fears that Curt will eventually hurt her. On edge, all it takes is an innocent comment to provoke her into drawing first blood. Mia recklessly wounds Curt, learning only too late that this blade cuts both ways. Frantic to make amends, she fears it might be too late to admit the feelings she’s tried so hard to suppress.

 
Here’s an excerpt.
 
     Casey was almost to the Explorer, but Mia barely noticed. Her entire focus was centered on the sexy teacher instead.
     She could feel the beads of perspiration popping out all over her at the way his lightweight shirt caught the breeze, billowing out of the back of his sexy-assed pants. Was that linen? It couldn’t be. It draped like rayon but without the wrinkles. Whatever it was, he wasn’t exactly dressed to roam school hallways or stand with his back to a class while he wrote on a chalkboard. She envied and pitied the poor adolescent girls who had to look at that supremely scrumptious derriere every day then suffer each night in a private torture all their own.
     No, this guy belonged on a beach, seated at an umbrella shaded table with his long masculine fingers curled around a glass of wine.
     Okay, putting Curt on a beach was probably a mistake. In a flash she had him bounding out of the surf in low slung swim trunks as water ran down his sun-kissed body. She moaned softly at the damp line of glittering hair bisecting his chest. It tapered away across his solid abs then picked up again at his navel as a solid arrow plunging inside his waistband. Mia’s fingers twitched as she did a virtual walkthrough, quite willing to follow that trail wherever it led. Exploration was highly underrated these days.
     “Mom! Are you coming?”
     Casey’s call jolted her back to reality. Well, one thing she could say for certain, this fantasy was galaxies better than the usual gloom and doom.
Hurrying to the SUV, Mia climbed in and drew her seatbelt across her lap. “Did I hear Mr. Walden say he teaches science?” Silence followed her question. Looking up, she caught Casey giving her a strange look. “What?”
“Don’t even think about asking me to pass him a note at school,” he said flatly.
     Mia broke into a startled laugh. “Are you kidding?”
     The boy shook his head slowly. “I know that look, Mom. I’ve seen it a hundred times this year, and I’m not doing it. Don’t even ask.”
 
Thanks Kay. This has been fun!
 
You are welcome.  Thank you for sweeping me away.  I always have fun with you, Tara! 
Friends and LoversIn Love and WarAccidentes Make the Heart Grow Fonder
 
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The Wicked Ways of a Muse

Sheba has wicked tricks to get what she wants…

The Wicked Ways of a Muse

Muse

Seduction is a Must…

Seduce.  Lure.  Captivate.

Lace : red lipstick with pearls on black lace

These words speak volumes as writers, readers, agents and publishers in seducing to read past the query, the synopsis, the blurb, the first three chapters to the very last page.

It all starts with our writing.  The seduction of our heroes and heroines.  Showing versus telling.  Three dimensional and not two dimensional.  It is our responsibility to make sure we don’t submit prematurely, selling out the love of our hero and heroine from receiving that happily-ever-after to making it to the shelves to captivate readers.  I have invited Ines Saint, Crimson Romance Author, to share how she has made that happily-ever-after happen for her heroes and heroines.

(Kay) Ines, you are an author of two very captivating, heart-felt books, ‘Strangers in the Night’ and ‘Charmed’, how would you describe your muse and your relationship with her?

(Ines) Hi Kay!  First of all, thank you so much for your kind words and for inviting me over.  Hipwaders vs Heels is a very cool place to be and I’m always happy to chat with a friend.

I’ve come to think of my muse as a sort of trance I’m very happy to fall into, where ideas flow and time fades away. I love being there… but my relationship with my muse is often rocky and unstable. I never know when I’ll be taken away like that. There are days when it’s a struggle to write 300 words, and there are days when getting 4,000 words down is a breeze and pure bliss. Most days fall somewhere in between the trance and the struggle.

(Kay) You’re welcome, Ines! Which brings me to my next question 🙂 Tonight my friend left wine at the door…my heroine thanked her profusely, afraid my muse was going to create some really awkward hot scenes…what helps your muse when your hero & heroine first meet, the first kiss, getting through the black moment to happily ever after when it’s difficult?

I’m stuck on the fact that a friend left wine at your door…I love that! How sweet. Strangely enough, I’ve never sipped wine while writing, but now I just have to try it.

I’m always inspired by music, and I enjoy all kinds, so that really helps. Sometimes, it’s a subtle, seductive love song from the forties that helps me feel how my hero and heroine are falling in love, sometimes it’s a really sappy ballad from the seventies they I imagine one of them skulking to, and other times it’s a fun, meaningless eighties pop number that shows me the way. And then there’s vanilla tea. I drink plenty of it while writing. It’s really calming.

(Kay) You are so right…music does wonders for the writing, Ines.

In writing a happily-ever-after, or any kind of book, there is more following that final edit and save…for some it’s the hardest parts — query letters, coming up with the perfect blurb on the back of the book cover to the synopsis. Which did your muse find the most challenging and how did she, or you, get through it?

(Ines) I think my muse finds each of those equally challenging and frustrating because she always abandons me when it’s time to summarize. Writing the synopsis makes me want to pull my hair out! The only way for me to get through it is to keep plugging away at them, and to accept I’m probably never going to be 100% happy with the blurb.

(Kay) If you could give one suggestion how to seduce a publisher on each of the following: query letters, blurbs & synopsis to a new writer starting out…what would it be?

(Ines) You know, I usually don’t think I have advise to give to writers, but thinking on your question, I realize I’ve learned a few things. With query letters, I’d advise new writers to make sure their voice comes through in the summary, and to be be polite and professional. I’d tell them to pinpoint what makes their hook different and to incorporate it into their blurb (no easy to task for me), and I’d tell them to work on their synopsis as they’re writing their book. Jot down the important plot points and the little moments that stand out. I’m doing this now with my work in progress and it’s giving me a framework for the dreaded synopsis.

Thank you, Ines, for a wonderful interview.  Our talks are always fun and upbeat, just like your blog at www.authorinessaint.blogspot.com.   I can’t wait until your next book comes out, especially, after hearing hints of what is to come.

Readers, Ines Saint is a writer who lures, captivates and seduces in a sweet way, resembling ‘The Hallmark’ channel.

I would love to hear from readers, writers, agents and publishers on what seduces, captivates and lures them to investing in a book.

Have a wonderful day!

Kay

www.inessaint.com

www.facebook.com/authorinessaint  

www.twitter.com/inessaint

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